Balanced Drive Overcome Bulls
HOFFMAN ESTATES - The Grand Rapids Drive (2-1) shook off a slow start to earn their second win in as many games against the Windy City Bulls (1-2) on the road Tuesday by a 114-105 final. The Bulls began the game scoring 18 of the first 23 points, but the Drive were able to fight back primarily with a 36-16 advantage in the third quarter and win the game.
Zach Lofton, Khyri Thomas and Keenan Evans all tied for the team scoring lead for the Drive with 18 points apiece. Henry Ellenson added 17 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Bethea had the highest-scoring game for a Grand Rapids bench player on the season with 15 points. Fellow bench player Speedy Smith had seven assists in only 16 minutes and led all players with a plus-18 plus-minus.
Over half the Bulls' points were scored by the duo of Ferrakohn Hall and Tyler Ulis. Hall scored 28 points and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds, while Ulis also had 28 points in addition to five rebounds and a game-high 13 assists. Mychal Mulder was the only other Windy City player in double figures with 13 points.
The Drive were on fire from three-point range for a second consecutive game against the Bulls after shooting just 28 percent from deep in their season opener. They shot 19-of-39 from three after going 15-of-30 in their previous game, putting them at just under 50 percent through two games against the Bulls. Nine of the ten players that entered the game for the Drive hit at least one three-pointer, with Evans leading the way with four.
The Bulls enjoyed a relatively efficient game as well, matching the Drive's field goal percentage while shooting more free throws at a better percentage than Grand Rapids and also making 44 percent of their three-pointers. But they were not able to gain any other significant statistical advantages to match up with the Drive's big day from deep, as the teams were relatively even in terms of rebounding and turnovers.
After falling behind 100-86 midway through the fourth quarter, the Bulls went on an 18-4 run to pull within two points with 2:42 to play. The Drive got six of their next eight points from Lofton (who was ejected with seconds to play) to hold off the home team.
Grand Rapids stays on the road to play the Greensboro Swarm for their next game on Nov. 10, while the Bulls will have their first ever matchup with the Capital City Go-Go on the road Nov. 9.
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